President Reagan once said some people live their lives wondering if they've made a difference...but Marines don't have that problem.
Now my most favorite President meant that in a particular way, but today I'm going to spin it another. Sure, Marines have made major contributions to the world we live in for 235 years as of today. Freedom just wouldn't be the priceless liberty it is without the Marines who've actually paid the price. They've not done that alone, and tomorrow on Veterans Day, please make a sincere effort to thank a veteran still around...and reverently remember a few that aren't.
But Marines, they are a unique breed. The Corps goes to great extents to stay current with modern battlefield technology while always instilling into each individual Marine that winning the battle may come down to one Marine with nothing but his hands and head...be ready. Every Marine young and old takes a great deal of pride in that fact. There's also a great deal of pride and esprit de corps with the Marines from previous generations who laid the foundation and reputation of the world's greatest fighting force.
However, let me tell you the difference that I see Marines make...and that's the difference made in the lives of each other. I reflect back on twenty years ago and the friendships made, the positive influences shared, and the hardships we suffered together. Don't mistake that last one as a complaint because we wear it like a badge. A right of passage. One of the most difficult and frustrating things is to try to share those experiences with someone who doesn't have a point of reference. We often come across as aloof or reclusive trying to talk about our time in service. Believe me, that's usually not even close to the actual case. Just get a few Marines or formers together and watch the room light up with energy as they share and spin their tales of times gone by...times never, ever to be forgotten.
History records several encounters where a single Marine did in fact turn the battle and win the day, but every Marine of today and yesterday knows in their heart it takes brothers and sisters to make a Corps. Brothers and sisters willing to die for their country, their ideas and for each other...if it comes to that. Those are the stuff never dying friendships are made.
Happy Birthday Marine Corps and a heart-felt thank you to those Marines that helped make me who I am today. Oh...and goodnight Chesty Puller...wherever you are...you old Devil Dog!